EN 374:2016 Explained
14 December 2022
The standard that governs how chemical protection gloves are manufactured, tested and scaled has recently been changed. EN ISO 374:2016 is the updated version of the European safety regulation that determines which chemicals, solvents and microorganisms a glove is resistant to.
Because chemicals can be incredibly dangerous and even life-threatening, it's vital you understand exactly what's involved with EN 374. To help, we've put together this simple guide to clarify some of the most common questions and queries we get, and to provide some recommendations for protection against common workplace chemicals.
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What is EN 374?
EN 374 is the European standard used to classify gloves according to the protection that they provide against chemicals and micro-organisms. In order for gloves to be classified under EN 374, they have to undergo various permeation tests.
Once tested, gloves are provided with a rating for their resistance to permeation by specific chemicals and micro-organisms to promote consumer safety. Gloves that have undergone this testing will be marked with the beaker symbol below:
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Is EN 374:2003 Different to EN 374:2016?
So EN 374:2003 is on its way out and EN 374:2016 is appearing on more and more conformity statements, but what's actually changed?
Basically, EN ISO 374:2016 requires permeation tests to be carried out for more chemicals than EN 374:2003. The newer of the two standards adds an extra classification level according to the class of chemicals that the gloves protect against. This is specified as protection against virus, bacteria and/or fungi.
Chemical Resistance Rating
Under EN ISO 374:2016, gloves are tested for their resistance to 18 different chemicals, as opposed to the 12 chemicals tested under EN 374:2003. As a result, the new permeation table includes six new categories. Below is the complete list of chemicals that the gloves are now tested against:
New Classification Information
As well as adding more comprehensive chemical testing, EN 374:2016 also includes a new category, where gloves are rated either Type A, Type B, or Type C – depending on the number of chemicals that they provide protection against.
How To Read EN 374
EN ISO 374:2016 makes use of the same beaker symbol as EN 374:2003, with the letters of the chemicals it has passed resistance tests for shown underneath. However, the classification of Type A, Type B or Type C is added to the top of the symbol for gloves that have been tested to EN 374:2016. Here is what the new symbol looks like:
A new degradation test has been introduced under EN 374:2016, where any changes to the physical properties of a glove after exposure to a particular chemical are recorded. Changes noted include swelling, cracking, brittleness or shrinkage.
In Layman's Terms
The degradation test changed slightly in 2016 so you're not just getting a list of chemicals anymore. You are now able to see a description of exactly how a glove behaved when exposed to a particular chemical.
Under EN ISO 374:2016, three specimens from the palm are tested for chemical permeation and gloves that are 400mm or longer (or have a cuff intended to protect the wearer) will require additional testing to determine the permeation level of the cuff in comparison to the palm. If the palm and cuff achieve different results, then the lower result will be used to classify the glove.
In Layman's Terms
Chemical testing involves three separate pieces of glove fabric being exposed to the chemical. The resistance is then recorded and featured in the protection classification table that you will find on every single EN 374 glove on our site.
If a glove features an extended cuff for splash resistance, the cuff will be tested independently from the fabric mentioned above. If they show different results, the lower result will be used to classify the glove.
Protection Against Micro-Organisms Testing
EN ISO 374-5:2016 specifically classifies gloves according to whether they provide protection against bacteria, fungi and/or viruses for greater safety. The specific micro-organism that the glove provides protection against (if any) will be listed below the biohazard symbol shown below.
Other Standards Explained
If you're looking for similar guides to other EN standards, we've got you covered. Click any of the links below for more information:
Other Useful Pages
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The Last Word On EN 374
EN 374 is an important standard for a whole host of different professionals and workers. We hope we've broken this standard down in a way that is digestable, and that some of our recommendations have helped you get the gloves you need.
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